Medina High School students recently took part in the annual Community Day at their school. Todd Bensley and Jennifer Ossont, Participant in Government teachers, coordinate the event by inviting various community organizations to come in to talk to students about what they do and see if they would like to volunteer. Each student has to complete ten hours of community service each year towards their graduation requirements.
The organizations included: YMCA, Community Action, Medina Area Association of Churches (MAAC), GCASA, Salvation Army, FFA, PAWS Animal Shelter, Lee-Whedon Library, Medina Historical Society, PTSA, ERC, Shelby Fire Department, Parade of Lights and the Medina Railroad Museum. "The organizations that participate are always excited about the number of students who volunteer," says Mr. Bensley.
The teachers love hearing feedback from the students once they get done with their obligation. "As a teacher it is rewarding to hear students give their presentations on community service," says Mr. Bensley. "One of the questions we ask them to answer is: 'Is community service worthwhile?' So often I hear students say that they showed up just to get the hours done. But, by the time they left, they realized they really enjoyed it, and the organizations were appreciative. Many students also go back to these organizations to volunteer on their own. That is the ultimate reward because they see the value in helping out the community."
Ms. Ossont adds, "Many students seem so uncomfortable and unsure of themselves at the thought of community service, and even get stressed by it. Once they are done there is this growth and maturity you see in them. The realization that they can make a difference and be a valuable part of their community, part of something bigger than themselves."